In The Indian Express, T.V.R. Shenoy tallies the influence religion has on “the two greatest democracies on this planet,” squaring the Pledge controversy in the United States against Indian debates over Hindutva and calls there to “‘de-saffronise’ the curriculum.” He also leads The Revealer to this overlooked story: “U.S. Catholics Outsource Prayers to India.”
10:02 am: Searching for the most tortured Christian vibrato in America: Gifted, Trinity Broadcasting Network’s version of American Idol, is scheduled to debut this October. Read more.
9:31 am: “‘When I think of Martin, I can’t help but see the dogs and the sticks and the little girls in the church. But when I think of Juneteenth, I see an old codger kicking up his heels and running down the road to tell everyone the happy news.'” Julia Moskin reports on Juneteenth, tomorrow’s “tragicom” holiday which celebrates the end of slavery without dwelling on its legacy; or MLK Day “without the grieving.” Read more.
9:09 am: The dream-name of Madonna? In an ABC interview to air tonight, Madonna will reportedly announce that she’s taken on the Hebrew name Esther–not to replace “Madonna,” but adding what her spokeswoman, Liz Rosenberg, calls a “‘secret name, a dream name.'” The New York Times’s Joseph Berger recaps Madonna’s “flirtation with things Jewish,” and how it may have positive aspects for Judaism. “Samuel Heilman, the Proshansky professor in Jewish studies and sociology at the City University of New York, says that Madonna’s enthusiasm is another sign of how conventional a spice in the American stew Jews have become, despite being a rarefied 2 percent of the population…’I wouldn’t call it philo-Semitism, but we’re in the family, and there’s a curiosity about the family that wasn’t there before,’ Mr. Heilman said. ‘I don’t think it’s a love of Judaism, but given all the other kinds of immigrant groups that come here, Jews suddenly seem American.'”